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Syracuse University’s College Bowl Team Vying For a Spot in the Semifinals
As the final seconds ticked off the clock of their opening match on NBC’s “Capital One College Bowl,” the Syracuse University team of trivia experts—consisting of Sanjeev Uppaluri ’24, Zoë McCreary ’23, Emma Lambiaso ’24 and alternate Adam Schulman ’25—knew they had fallen to their counterparts from Penn State University.
But there was still a chance for the Orange to advance and keep alive their dreams of winning the grand prize: the majority of $1 million in scholarship money.
In each first-round showdown, the two head-to-head winners automatically advanced into the quarterfinals, as did the runner-up with the most points. So even though the Syracuse team lost to Penn State on Sept. 16, they could secure a spot in the next round, as long as their point total was higher than the runner-up in the Spelman College vs. Albany State matchup.
Syracuse fell behind early and trailed by scores of 170-30 and 670-90 heading into the two-minute drill of its game. But Uppaluri, McCreary and Lambiaso kept their composure and rallied.
While Penn State ultimately won with 670 points, Syracuse finished with a competitive score of 415 points, a figure that wound up being the second-most points of any school that night.
Before the Syracuse comeback began, the Orange students received words of encouragement from award-winning singer and actress Vanessa Williams ’85. Wearing an Orange Syracuse vest, Williams wished the team good luck, stating “we are so proud of you. Go out here and represent the way you know you can. Go Orange!”
Spelman edged Albany State by a score of 390-330, which meant Syracuse had secured the night’s third spot in the quarterfinals, after outscoring Albany State 415-330.
When the news broke, Otto, the University’s mascot who made the trip to Atlanta, Georgia for the taping of the episode, exchanged a spirited high-five with Lambiaso, and Syracuse’s trio could be seen breathing a sigh of relief after escaping the opening round.
Up next for the Orange is a familiar foe: Duke University, which fell to the defending champions from Columbia University in its first-round match.
Unlike the first round, the quarterfinals are single elimination, meaning Syracuse needs to win if it wants a chance at winning the majority of $1 million in scholarship money.
The episode featuring Syracuse and Duke’s clash will air at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 7.
The campus community is invited to a watch party—featuring free pizza and Orange College Bowl-branded t-shirts and koozies as giveaways—from 8 to 9 p.m. in the main atrium of the Schine Student Center.
College Bowl is hosted by Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning and his brother, Cooper, and pits teams of college and university students against each other in a battle of the brains. Every student receives tuition assistance for participating.
Featuring a variety of trivia subjects, students must work in teams to test their knowledge in a five-round tournament. The top two schools advance to the final round, where they compete to earn the College Bowl trophy and, more importantly, those scholarship funds.
All competitors receive some tuition assistance, and the Syracuse participants earned at least $10,000 in scholarship help by advancing into the quarterfinals.
Brigham Young University defeated Notre Dame and the University of Georgia defeated Texas to advance into the semifinals of last week’s episode, while Syracuse, Duke, Penn State, Spelman and Columbia are joined in the quarterfinals by the following schools:
- University of Oklahoma
- University of California, Santa Barbara
- University of Washington